Wigs, whether they're synthetic or human-hair, need a little care to maintain. Without the proper care a wig can be ruined permanently or just have a dull, unkempt appearance. There are some basics for cleaning wigs, synthetic or human-hair, that can keep it looking neat and clean.
There are certain measures to take when wearing and storing a wig that will prevent it from needing to be cleaned too frequently. Over-cleaning the wig can ruin it in no time. To keep human-hair or synthetic wigs from needing to be cleaned frequently, keep your own hair and scalp clean, remove the wig when lying down, even for a quick nap. Store the wig on a wire wig stand every time you remove it. The stand allows air to circulate through the cap and will prevent it from losing its shape as well.
Where wigs are purchased you can also buy products designed specifically for taking care of your wig or hairpiece. These products are somewhat expensive but are made especially for shampooing wigs. If the wig is a human-hair wig you can use most any good shampoo which states that it is for permed, colored, or processed hair.
Use a wide tooth comb or a pick to first remove all the tangles from the wig. Turn the wig inside out before beginning to shampoo. Mix shampoo that's meant for synthetic wigs with the appropriate amount of cool water, according to the shampoo manufacturer's instructions. If using regular shampoo for a human-hair wig simply mix a teaspoon of shampoo with cool water.
Gently pour about half of the water through the wig cap before turning right side out and using the rest. Work the shampoo throughout the wig and hair gently but don't rub the cap as you would your scalp. When finished shampooing use cool, clear water to rinse suds from wig and cap. Do not twist or wring the wig but hold the hair between thumb and fingers, sliding downward to remove water. Don't pull while doing this but gently glide your hand down the hair.
Mix conditioner by placing about a teaspoon of the solution in a squirt bottle. Fill the bottle with 10 ounces of water. Spray the solution onto the hairpiece, making sure to avoid the very cap area where the hair is stitched or tied. Conditioner can cause the hair pieces to slide out if a lot of conditioner is applied directly to the cap. Allow the maximum amount of time, according to manufacturer, to leave the conditioner in before rinsing with lots of cool water.
Place the wig on a clean towel and blot it dry. When the wig is no longer dripping wet place it on a wire wig stand. Use a wide tooth comb or pick to untangle the hair, starting from the bottom and working your way upwards as you do so. Pre-styled wigs should give you little trouble when drying and styling since they're made to regain their style after washings.
It's not a good idea to use a blow dryer on a wig, but if you're in a hurry, you can use the blow dryer on a cool setting and hold at least 12" away from hair. Using any heat whatsoever will speed up the drying time but will likely melt the fibers somewhat, giving the wig a frizzy look that can't be repaired.
After a few washings you may notice that the wig won't regain it's original style. That means it's time to have the wig restyled. It's best to take the wig to a professional for this but you can do it yourself by using plastic rollers and lotion meant for setting wigs. Wrap the end of the hair with a wrap paper like they use when giving someone a perm. Wrap the curler as usual then use clips to hold the rollers in place.
Good wigs aren't cheap so take the best care of it that you possibly can. While wearing a wig use caution when opening an oven door or standing around a burner. Use caution also when having a barbecue, sitting around the fireplace, or standing close to any heater or heat source.